JOHN J. SALKAJr., a firehouse* contributing editor, isa 28-year veteran battalion chief with FDNY, the commander of the 18th battalion in the Bronx. Salka has instructed at several FDNY training programs, including the department's Probationary Firefighters School, Captains Management Program and Battalion Chiefs Command Course.
THE FIRE SCENE >>> By JOHN J. SALKA Jr. Know Your People Make Sure You Know Who’s Riding on Your Rig T his column is directed primarily Let’s stop and look back at why we need In larger career departments, com- at company officers. I have stated to know our people. You need to know ex- panies are often manned with firefighters this many times and I will repeat actly who is on your fire engine because from other companies or other battalions. it again. Company officers are the most two hours from now, your company may There can be one or even two firefight- important people in the fire service. They be involved in a collapse or a member may ers on an engine or truck company that are at every operation. They are responsi- become lost or fall through a have never been there before. ble for training their firefighters. They are the interior eyes and ears of the incident roof into the fire. You need to know the name and assigned You are Operationally, that may work just fine. Firefighters are well commander. They are often the first to arrive and to initiate tactical operations company and physical fea- tures of the people whose responsible trained and perform well even when working in unfamiliar at just about every type of incident we respond to. They manage our firehouses, lives you are responsible for. What if you are an offi- for the moﬆ territory. But what if some- thing happens? You as the apparatus, tools and equipment and they are directly responsible for the safety cer of the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department and you re- valuable company officer must make it your business to find out what and survival of our most valuable asset, the firefighters, which brings us to this spond to a call at 3 A.M. for a house fire? You get to the resource we their abilities are and what is expected of them. month’s headline, “Know Your People.” What exactly does that mean? It firehouse, grab your gear, climb into the officer’s seat have, our We often talk about ac- countability and how we are means if you are the company officer rid- ing a fire apparatus and standing on the and start talking with the ap-
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